I was starting to feel this when I scouted all of my sites, but now I really am, maybe for the first time, actually appreciating the beauty of nature on a deeper level. I grew up in Williston Park in Nassau County on Long Island, 10 minutes outside of Queens, and just about never went hiking until college. Even at Tufts, I would go on trips with the Tufts Mountain Club and I didn’t quite understand the connection the people around me had to mountains and trees. I am, however, enchanted by Hunter Island. Walking around Hunter Island is changing my relationship to nature. If you take a left off the main path on the west side of Hunter Island, there is a little turn off through a large patch of Phragmities australius. It’s the kind of place no one normally goes, which you can tell by how overgrown it is and it leads to the cutest, tightest path ever. It changes ecosystems so quickly from phragmites, to salt marsh, to forest, to rocky edges, and back again.
I will forever be enamored by small intricate things and places like this. I love coziness. This path reminds me of when I was little, before the internet really was everywhere, when I would always want to go to libraries and search for the little nooks and crannies to hide myself away in. As much as I searched, I could never find any that were secluded enough. The path there was always too obvious, which, thinking back, makes sense for a public library, but this trail had that cozy secluded feeling. As much as I absolutely loved New York City, I never would have expected to find something like this there, and now I love it even more. Maybe I just needed to see nature like this close to home, but my research is definitely pushing me into places I never knew about before and showing me kinds of places I used to ignore in a new light.